If__ Was__

Recently landed: Word Play, Gracia's written response to Ross McCormack's If Form Was Shifted and Stephanie Lake's If Never Was Now presented by Dancenorth for Fjord Review

If Form Was Repeated.

If Many Was One.

If Cohesion Was Strength.

If Nature Was Beginning.

If Nature Was Heard.

Beautiful patterning that replicated nature took form and was repeated. However, unexpectedly, the suggestion of nature was inferred less in the costuming and materials and more in the movements of the dancers and a world’s worth of beanbag stuffing. This reclaimed nature was not easily found for the artifice, but it was felt. It was in the inquisitive bird-like, feet-together pitter-patter shuffle of Hall in a tinkling-light duet with McLellan. It was in the swirl of uncontrollable beanbag stuffing on the black flooring that simultaneously recalled ocean waves, a desert, and a dusting of snow. Also unfixed to one reading, the large panels employed by the dancers to move and momentarily control the tiny white beads, called to mind delicate fans, the personification of Wind on the pages of an old Atlas when the world was (believed) flat, and a line of police with riot shields. And joined to this unnatural-natural sensation, the uncomfortable loud screeching sound of small Polystyrene beads underfoot. When later adhered to the skin by static electricity, the dancers appeared all the more a part of nature as brutal as it was transfixing. Covered and branded by a manufactured pollen, five lurid pink Birds-of-Paradise, blown off evolutionary course.

If Evolution Was Key.

If Mimicry Was Survival.

If Mimicry Was Absence.

In Lake’s hands, mimicry was strength, where in McCormack’s, it was a weakness that devoured. Two sides of the one coin, spun.

If I Was Won.

Indeed I was.

Stephanie Lake's If Never Was Now (Image credit: Amber Haines)